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Sarah McKune delivers remarks at European Parliament hearing

Citizen Lab Senior Researcher Sarah McKune delivered a presentation at a human rights and technologies hearing, held at the European Parliament in Brussels. The hearing focused on the impact of digital surveillance and intrusion systems on human rights in third world countries. McKune spoke on relevant Citizen Lab research and the ways that policy decisions can reflect these findings. Also in attendance was Marietje Schaake, who serves as the European Parliament Rapporteur for the report on human rights and technology. Schaake delivered closing remarks at the hearing.

McKune highlighted the digital threats that are levelled at civil society, referencing the report entitled, “Communities @ Risk: Targeting Digital Threats Against Civil Society.” Amongst other findings of the report, she explained that the persistent nature of malware attack means they are likely to be politically motivated. She added that non-profits are typically unable to hire technically proficient staff, and establish the secure communications infrastructure needed to counter the threats effectively.

In the final section of her presentation, Sarah McKune presented a number of researched-based recommendations. These included the need for greater tracking and documentation of digital threats, given how much remains unknown about the extent of these practices. In addition, McKune explained that imbalances to public access to digital security need to be rectified, in order that security solutions are equally distributed and easy to implement for everyday users and civil society organizations. The full text of the remarks she submitted, including all the recommendations she submitted, can be found here.

McKune’s remarks can be viewed in this video. She begins at 27:30 in Part 2. All other documents pertaining to the hearing can also be found on the  European Parliament’s website.

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